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Water Department Press Release

The City of San Diego Letterhead

July 5, 2002

CONTACT: Christianne Penunuri
(619) 934-4684 or
(619) 820-0960 cell

Residential Water Survey Program: Smart Water Use Means Quick Savings
s By Luis Generoso, City of San Diego's Water Department

SAN DIEGO - How much would you pay to have an expert come into your home and show you how to save water, thus saving money on your water and sewer bills? What if that expert brought along water-saving devices like low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators? And what if this trained professional then went outside your home to determine if you were watering your landscape too much and devised a personalized watering schedule?

The City of San Diego Water Department offers its Residential Water Survey Program to owners of single-family homes and multi-family units at no charge. Designed to help our customers save water inside and outside, participants in the program can reduce their annual water consumption by approximately 10-18 percent.

"The Water Department representative who showed up at my house instilled total confidence and he did a wonderful job of showing me how I could save water," said Terry Schmidt of University City. "For instance, he found a leak in my irrigation system that I had no idea existed."

The Water Department surveyor walks through the home with the resident, suggesting water-savings opportunities, identifying water problems and offering personalized solutions to those problems. The surveyor also reviews the water history of the household, evaluates water consumption, water-use behavior, and appliance usage. They also provide a complete analysis for both interior and exterior water usage and make a list of recommendations, including other Water Conservation programs that will help reduce water usage.

The exterior survey involves an assessment of the landscape and irrigation system, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the total residential water use, especially during the hotter summer temperatures.

Soil, turf, and plant types, along with topography are examined to determine how they affect the way water is used in the landscape. The irrigation system is thoroughly checked for misting, broken or misaligned sprinkler heads, mismatched components, and system leaks.

"The surveyor went through each sprinkler branch checking every individual sprinkler head and gave me advice on how to use them more efficiently," said Adolfo Collado, a Rancho Bernardo resident who recently participated in the program.

A "catch can test" is conducted in one area of the lawn to check the sprinkler heads' output and efficiency, enabling the surveyor to determine the water delivery rate and to provide recommendations for maximizing irrigation. This information, combined with detailed knowledge of the landscaping and soil-type, allows the surveyor to devise a personalized month-to-month watering schedule.

Inspections of the water meter, water heater, house pressure regulator, dishwasher, and washing machine, as well as examinations of the flow rates of each faucet, showerhead, and toilet are the foundation of the interior survey. The surveyor checks for obvious leaks within the home, and recommends remedies. Leaks constitute about 3 percent of the total daily water use in a single-family home. Homeowners are also reminded of behavioral changes -- such as running only full loads in the washing machine or dishwasher -- that promote efficient water use.

At the end of the appointment, some of the following items are often provided to the resident free of charge: low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, water and energy saving literature, landscaping information, California native plant seeds, coupons for discounts at local nurseries, and other water-wise products designed to illustrate how easy it is to save water.

More than 30,000 residents have participated in the survey program, contributing an estimated savings of 1.2 million gallons per day. To schedule a survey, call the City of San Diego's Water Conservation Program at (619) 570-1999 or email [email protected].

The Water Conservation Program reduces water demand through promoting or providing incentives for the installation of hardware that provides permanent water savings, and by providing services and information to help San Diegans make better decisions about water use. For more information about Water Conservation, visit www.sandiego.gov/water/ or call 619.515-3500.

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